Problem Formulation and Identification

The process of effective decision making plays a very significant role for organizational performance. Decision making is almost generally defined as the thought process that is involved while choosing the most logical choice from among the options existing. It is intimately connected to all the traditional management functions. Decision making is an organizational procedure because it transcends the individual and has an effect on organizational objective and goals (Watzlawick 1974).Our organization (DHL international) has always employed a rational and systematic approach in decision-making process that has helped the organization address the vital elements that result in a good decision. Our organization usually takes an organized approach and therefore less likely to miss important factors. This has enabled the organization build on the approach to makes the process of decisions better and better. The organization has made decisions successful by employing standard criteria that is used to approach all problems logically. The first step is to create a constructive environment for each problem or for every decision to be made. This require that we define the objectives we want to realize and agree on the procedure- whether  it is going to be individual or team-based decision. Also during this first step we make sure the right people are involved and that they put forward all their opinions and ideas. This helps us avoid group thinking which can be disastrous. When we first set out the problem, the relevant people involved in decision making are encouraged to think critically and look the issue from different perspectives. The second step is to generate as many as possible remedies to the problem we are faced with. We analyze each remedy- its merits and demerits and its short term and future implication to the organization especially the risks that are affiliated with it. After this we select the best alternative that is within the company’s short term and long term aspirations. The choice may be obvious or requiring us to involve some tools of analysis for instance brainstorming. After we have made a decision we relook at it again this time dispassionately to make sure that the decision is thorough and that common mistakes have not sneaked into the process. The last step we employ is to communicate the decision to all those affected by it and those who are going to implement it by providing information about risks and the associated benefits of the decision made.

Problem formulation and identification styles are usually employed at various stages during decision making. When generating ideas and alternatives, brainstorming is the most effective tool. It is particularly helpful when you want to break out of stale, conventional patterns of thinking, so that you can develop innovative ways of looking at things. Brainstorming is a valuable way of coming up with radical solutions to problems, provided it's managed well. Brainstorming in a group can be hazardous for individuals, because Valuable but extraordinary ideas may appear stupid at first sight. Because of this, you should chair sessions compactly so that ideas are not trampled, and so that the usual issues with group problem-solving don’t smother creativeness. This technique fails to work effectively when groups the team is big (Watzlawick1974).

During developing and gathering information from stakeholders, charette procedure is employed. The Charette Procedure allows for greatest involvement in idea creation, without compromising the quality or efficiency of the brainstorming. The drawback in this style is that the groups may fail to agree on the final decision therefore wasting a lot of time (De Bono 1971).

When approaching a problem from different perspectives, reframing matrix technique is usually employed. It magnifies the range of innovative solutions that you can generate.  This is done by putting the question to be asked at the center of a grid.  Use boxes around the grid for the different perspectives. This is just a simple way of laying the problem out, so if it does not suit you, change it. This acts as a window to help one see things from positions that are not apparent.

When organizing different ideas into a one unified idea, affinity diagrams act as efficient tools. An affinity diagram aids to blend large amounts of data by finding associations between ideas. The information is progressively ordered from the bottom up into consequential groups. From there you can clearly "see" what you have, and then begin your analysis or come to a decision.  These diagrams are effective when the solution is not readily apparent (De Bono 1971).

When choosing the best alternative during decision making paired comparative analysis technique is usually employed. This style helps you to work out the significance of a number of options relative to each other. It is mainly useful where you do not have objective data to base this on. To use the technique, a work sheet is used to compare each option with each other option, one-by-one.  This style helps to show the distinction in significance between factors. (Watzlawick 1974).

Employing an effective decision making procedure and ensuring that the correct problem formulation and identification style are used ensures that an organization makes logical decision that are to the best satisfaction of its short and long term objectives and ensures that all stake holders are happy and satisfied. 

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